Posts tagged ‘foreign investment’

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick Review: Princess Cheng, the Dalai Lama, and the Motherpapers

Stay away from blogging for a fortnight, and you will miss out on a lot of news. Here are some that caught my attention during the past two weeks, without time to blog about them, let alone making a real translation of it.

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1. This Land is my Land: Princess Wencheng, from Tang China to Tibet

Wang Lixiong, a Chinese tibetologist, described his take on the Tang Dynasty’s motives to get Princess Wencheng married to then Tibetan King King Songtsän Gampo.

Wang’s take is that the mere fact that you marry one of your princesses to the ruler of a distant land still doesn’t make that ruler’s land your land. If and how far his view may differ from the narratives Chinese propaganda has spread abroad successfully, would take a good translation of the entire blogpost, as published by Tsering Woeser, on October 23.

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2. That Land is China’s Land: no Entry into South Africa for Dalai Lama

I’m wondering if the Dalai Lama expects to see the country of South Africa in his lifetime. Chinafile collected some links and reactions to this most recent – apparent – refusal from Pretoria to grant Tibet’s spiritual leader a visa.

Pretoria reportedly also blocked a Dalai Lama visit in March 2009. Less than two month later, then South African minister for International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that the Dalai Lama could now visit South Africa any time he wanted.

Anyway. So far, it hasn’t happened.

one_hundred_fake_euros

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3. What shall we do with the Motherpapers?

Nothing, says China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, a website observing the mainland Chinese media scene.

Not if it is about People’s Daily, the mother of all motherpapers, anyway. Motherpapers, writes CMP, usually get their budgets right from the Chinese Communist Party, and may also be supported by their child papers (which are more commercial, carry more advertising, and may have more interested readers). Because you can’t discuss the real challenges in China.

Personal note: I’m sometimes criticized by Chinese people for reading People’s Daily or other orthodox stuff, and for watching Xinwen Lianbo, the main CCTV news broadcast. There are so many more interesting media, they say.

Which is true. But as the CCP never invites me to their schooling sessions, not even on village level, motherpapers and CCTV is all I can get for my better information about how the party is ticking.

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There’s still more stuff I (just as superficially) read during the second half of October, but I might still get round to them in some more detail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deutsche Welle: the Pendulum Swings back (and strikes again)

While a comparatively early report by Guanchazhe (Shanghai) came across as sort of neutral, a report by Huanqiu Shibao (the Chinese-language sister of the “Global Times”) on Monday used the Su Yutong vs Deutsche Welle story for a bit of domestic nation-building. Using purported netizen comments, Huanqiu criticizes Su for being “naive”:

“You are reporting negative news about China all day long and think Germans will like you for that? Naive! You are planning to sue Deutsche Welle for violating local labor laws? What a joke. You don’t understand Germany and German law. When you leak a company’s internal information, the company has every reason to discharge you”, some netizens said.

“你整天报道中国的负面新闻,德国人就喜欢你?幼稚! 还准备起诉德国之声违反当地劳动法?笑话。太不了解德国和德国的法律。光泄漏企业内部的信息,企业就完全有理由开除你。”有网友说。

The paper leaves much of the criticism to “netizens”, but adds some message of its own, too. According to a BBC survey [probably Globescan], China’s image in Germany had been deteriorating for a decade, and 76 percent of Germans currently held a negative view of China, writes Huanqiu. That journalists like Su Yutong, from important positions, were blackening China’s name had something to do with the country’s negative image. When Chinese people badmouthed other Chinese people, ordinary people abroad tended to believe them.

We, too, hate some dark phenomena in our country, but we also hope and believe our motherland will improve. Reasonable overseas Chinese people will be happy and proud about China’s economic construction and development during the past thirty years. China has its shortcomings and you can criticize them, but not with a maximum zoom, and opposition against everything.

我们痛恨自己国家的一些阴暗现象,但更希望并坚信,我们的祖国会越来越好。任何一个有良知的海外华人,都会对中国这30多年来的经济建设发展感到万分的庆幸与骄傲。中国有缺点可以批评,但不能无限放大,更不能逢中必反。

The article also describes the development of Sino-German trade and adds that during the sanctions on and from Russia, Germany’s economy had shrunk by 0.2 percent during the second quarter this year. And using comments on overseas-Chinese social media, Huanqiu suggests that “constant negative headlines at Deutsche Welle about China wouldn’t help bilateral cooperation”.

The Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) would probably agree. When German chancellor Angela Merkel visited China during summer, the APA had recommendations for the two heads of government, Merkel and Li Keqiang, concerning a better climate for Chinese investment in Germany. Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported:

It was “the common task of governments and companies on both sides to promote a good reputation of Chinese companies in Germany”, the recommendations, on hand at dpa newsagency in Beijing on Tuesday [July 8], say. This was about a “fair and accurate” presentation. Background [of these recommendations?] is Chinese criticism of German media which “irresponsibly and inaccurately report about Chinese human rights and political issues”, a position paper still in progress says.

APA chairman Hubert Lienhard, talking to journalists, resolutely denied the existence of this paragraph in the raft. However, only a week ago, a draft of the paper containing this criticism circulated in the German embassy in Beijing. Accusations like these were, however, not adopted in the recommendations to the two heads of government, recommendations the APA commission does not want to publish. [...]

The APA doesn’t need to be “behind” the most recent events at Deutsche Welle, and if the links are as crude as suggested both by Huanqiu Shibao and some of Su Yutong’s supporters remains an open question. But there seems to be a trend towards cozying up to Beijing – and the pendulum that hit Zhang Danhong in 2008, and four more of her colleagues at the DW Chinese department in 2010 on its way to more “China-unfriendly” coverage, now seems to have hit Su Yutong, on its way back to more “China-friendly” coverage.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Logical, Mr. Palmer!

When business is going fine, CCP cadres are partners. When it’s going less well, they are mongrels [who] shoot their own people.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sino-Venezuelan Relations: Locomoted by Finance and Investment, with Energy Cooperation as the Main Axis‏

China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping, in his capacity as state chairman, had talks in a frank and friendly atmosphere with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro on July 20, according to People’s Daily online, and reached a broad consensus. They unanimously decided to promote Sino-Venezuelan relations further, to a level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Venezuela are good friends and double-win partners with trust in each other. We cherish the memory of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for making important contributions to the development of Sino-Venezuelan relations, and we appreciate how President Nicolas Maduro continues Chavez’ friendly policies towards China. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between [our] two countries, Sino-Venezuelan relations can take over from the past and carry it forward into the important stage of the [near] future. We unanimously agree to promote the relations of [our] two countries relations to a level of comprehensive strategic partnership, comprehensive cooperation, mutual benefit and common development. Xi Jinping put forward four proposals.

习 近平指出,中委是相互信任的好朋友和互利共赢的好伙伴。我们缅怀委内瑞拉前总统查韦斯为发展中委关系作出的重要贡献,赞赏马杜罗总统继承查韦斯对华友好政 策。在两国建交40周年之际,中委关系处在承前启后、继往开来的重要阶段。我们一致同意,将两国关系提升为全面战略伙伴关系,其内涵为战略互信、全面合 作、互利共赢、共同发展。习近平提出4点建议。

1. Grasp the general situation. The two heads of states should maintain regular contact, strengthen interaction between the two counties’ governments, political parties, legislative bodies, strengthen strategic planning, deepen mutual political trust, and to continue each other concerning issues of each others’ core interests.

第一,把握大局。两国元首要保持经常性接触,两国政府、政党、立法机关加强交往,加强战略规划,深化政治互信,在涉及彼此核心利益的问题上继续相互支持。

2. Lay emphasis on substantial results. Strengthen the top-level design of the two countries’ cooperation, both in terms of forging ahead with determination and pioneering courage, and in terms of pragmatism and efficiency, advancing in an orderly fashion, by maintaining mutual benefit and common progress, deepening the integration of interests, locomoted by finance and investment, with energy-sector cooperation as the main axis, and multiple wheels turning at the same time. Both sides should make good use of financing cooperation systems, advance mineral production, the construction of infrastructure and facilities, cooperation in science and technology, and, at an early date, the construction of agricultural demonstration parks. The Chinese side would like to increase the transfer of satellite technology to Venezuela, and encourages capable Chinese companies to actively participate in the construction of Venezuelan special economic zones.

第二,注重实效。加强两国合作顶层设计,既要锐意进取、勇于开拓,又要务实高效、循序渐进,坚持互利互惠,深化利益融合,以金融和投资为引擎,以能源合作 为主轴,多个轮子一起转。双方要用好融资合作机制,推进矿产、基础设施建设、科技合作,尽早启动农业示范园建设。中方愿加大对委方卫星技术转让,鼓励有实 力的中国企业积极参与委内瑞拉经济特区建设。

3. Expanding exchanges. With the anniversary of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries as an [auspicious] moment, cultural, educational and media cooperation should enhance the Sino-Venezuelan foundations of the friendly popular will.

第三,扩大交流。要以两国建交40周年为契机,促进文化、教育、旅游、媒体合作,夯实中委友好民意基础。

4. Awareness of the overall situation. Sino-Venezuelan relations should be put into the general Sino-Latin-American relations, the united cooperation of developing countries, and the plans of global peaceful development. I appreciate President Maduros participation and important proposals in the BRIC countries’ meeting with the South American Leaders’ Forum and Sino-Latin-American Leaders’ Meeting. China wants to build the Sino-Latin-American Forum and promote comprehensive Sino-Latin-American cooperation together with Venezuela.  The two sides should strengthen and coordinate cooperation concerning global economic governance, energy security, climate change, and other international issues and deliver a stronger voice of developing countries to the international community, promoting more attention of the international order for development into a more just and reasonable direction.

第四,着眼全局。把中委关系放在中拉关系全局、发展中国家团结合作、世界和平发展大局中谋划。我赞赏马杜罗总统出席金砖国家同南美国家领导人对话会和中拉 领导人会晤并提出重要建议。中方愿意同委方一道,建设好中拉论坛,推进中拉整体合作。双方还要就全球经济治理、能源安全、气候变化等国际事务加强协调配 合,向国际社会更多传递发展中国家声音,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理方向发展。

Maduro is quoted by People’s Daily online as confirming the trust between Venezuela and China and agreement on many important issues (两国对许多重大问题看法一致). He is also quoted as expressing Venezuelan appreciation of Chinese long history and culture, admiration for the great achievements made by socialism with Chinese characteristics (我们欣赏中国悠久的历史文化,钦佩中国特色社会主义事业取得的伟大成就), and a firm belief that China would play a great role in promoting world peace and development.

We will firmly carry the will of Hugo Chavez forward, and strengthen security cooperation with China from a strategic height. I absolutely appreciate the proposals made by Chairman Xi Jinping, I hope to maintain a close relationship with Chairman Xi Jinping, to promote the cooperation between [our] two countries. Venezuela welcomes expanded investment by Chinese companies and their participation in the development of the petrochemical industry and projects such as special economic zones. During the meeting of Chinese and Latin American leaders a few days ago, Chairman Xi Jinping’s important proposals and motions for the strengthening of cooperation had milestone character. They will vigorously advance the common development of Latin America and China. Venezuela firmly supports the establishment of the Latin-America-China-Forum, and wants to make active contributions to Latin-American-Chinese relations.

我们将坚定继承查韦斯遗愿,从战略高度加强同中国的全面合作。我完全赞赏习近平主席提出的建议,希望同习近平主席保持密切联系,推进两国合作。委方欢迎中 国企业扩大对委内瑞拉投资,参与石化产业和经济特区开发等项目。习近平主席几天前在中拉领导人会晤中就加强拉中整体合作提出的重要主张和举措具有里程碑意 义,将有力促进拉中共同发展。委方坚定支持成立中拉论坛,愿意为推动拉中关系作出积极贡献。

Wang Huning (王沪宁), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) and others attended the talks.

Friday, May 16, 2014

South China Sea Conflicts: Friendship among Nations and inescapable Responsibilities

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China says its oil rig will continue drilling in contested waters in the South China Sea, despite deadly anti-Beijing riots in Vietnam, reports the BBC.

Three news items of Thursday and Friday from the Chinese press this week, closely or loosely interrelated.

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1. FMPRC Regular Press Conference, Spokesperson Hua Chunying, May 15, 2014

Q: In recent days, there are several violent incidents against foreign enterprises and workers in Vietnam. What is Chin’s comment on that?

问:近日在越南发生了针对外资企业和人员的严重暴力事件,中方对此有何评价?

A: We are shocked at and seriously concerned about relevant incidents. Now Chinese officials from the embassy in Vietnam are racing against the time to reach the scene which is located in very remote areas and verify relevant reports. Leading officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry have summoned the Vietnamese ambassador to China to lodge solemn representations and demanded the Vietnamese side to take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of Chinese citizens and the property of Chinese enterprises and organizations in Vietnam.

答:我们对有关事件感到震惊,并表示严重关切。中国驻越南使馆人员正日夜兼程赶赴地处偏僻地区的现场了解核实有关情况。中国外交部负责人已紧急约见越南驻华大使提出严正交涉,要求越方采取一切必要有效措施确保中国在越人员的人身安全及企业和机构的财产安全。

It is worth pointing out that the Vietnamese side has an inescapable responsibility for the beating, smashing, looting and burning targeted at China and other countries.

必须指出的是,越南近日发生针对中方及其他方企业和人员的打、砸、抢、烧行为,越方负有不可推卸的责任。我们敦促越南政府切实负起责任,严肃彻底调查,严惩肇事者。

We have learned that enterprises from Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan China, Singapore and ROK have also sustained damages and threats to various degrees. That also points to the graveness of the current situation. Again, we urge the Vietnamese side to immediately take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of foreign citizens and enterprises in Vietnam, including those from China, and provide a decent working environment for foreign enterprises doing normal business there.

我们注意到,包括中国台湾和香港地区以及新加坡、韩国等一些企业也受到了不同程度的威胁和冲击破坏。这更加说明了当前事态的严重性。我们再次敦促越方重视 中方和其他方交涉,立即采取一切必要和有效措施,确保包括中国同胞在内的外国人员和企业在越南的安全,同时为外资企业在越正常经营提供起码的工作环境。

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2. Xinhua Net, via Enorth (Tianjin): Chinese Companies in Vietnam newsarticle, May 16

In recent days, foreign investors and companies have faced seriously violent cases of vandalization and looting. Some Chinese companies, including companies and employees from Taiwan and Hong Kong region, and Singaporean, South Korean, and other companies suffered attacks of various degrees, causing losses of property and life. According to initial confirmation, one Chinese citizen has died, and hundreds have been injured.

近日,在越南发生了针对外国投资者和企业的打砸抢烧严重暴力事件,包括台湾和香港地区在内的一些中国企业和人员以及新加坡、韩国等企业遭到不同程度的冲击,造成生命和财产损失。据初步核实,已有1名中国公民死亡,上百人受伤。

Concerning this, on the evening of May 15, foreign minister Wang Yi had an emergency telephone talk with Vietnamese deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh. For the Chinese government, he expressed strong condemnation and put forward a solemn and just protest.

对此,15日晚,外交部长王毅同越南副总理兼外长范平明紧急通电话,代表中国政府向越方表示强烈谴责,提出严正抗议。

Wang Yi said that the Vietnamese side bore an inescapable responsibility for lawless elements who violently attacked companies and employees of the Chinese side. The Chinese side solemnly demands that the Vietnamese side immediately take resolute measures, stop all violent behavior, guarantee the safety of life and property of all Chinese companies and employees in Vietnam, immediately make proper arrangements for those who were attacked and to make every effort to help the injured, to start investigations of the violent incidents immediately, to punish all criminal elements in accordance with the law, and to compensate the Chinese companies and individuals for all losses.

王毅表示,越方对不法分子暴力 袭击中方企业和人员负有不可推卸的责任。中方郑重要求越方立即采取坚决有效措施,制止一切暴力行为,确保所有在越中国企业和人员的生命和财产安全;立即妥 善安置受到袭击的中方企业和人员并全力救助伤员;立即对有关暴力事件展开调查,依法严惩所有犯罪分子,赔偿中国企业和个人的一切损失。

Pham Binh Minh said that the Vietnamese side was paying close attention the current situation, more than one thousand suspects had been arrested, and criminal elements would be severely punished in accordance with the law. Vietnam would take all measures and protect the safety of lives and property of Chinese employees and institutions in Vietnam. Currently, the situation was stabilizing.

范平明说,越方对当前事态高度重视,已抓捕1000多名嫌犯,并将依法严惩犯罪分子。越方将采取一切措施,保护在越中国人员和机构的生命和财产安全。目前事态已趋于稳定。

In the afternoon [of May 15], deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin was tasked to summon Vietnamese ambassador to China, Nguyen Van Tho, made solemn representations, demanding that the Vietnamese side immediately take practical and effective measures, resolutely stop and severely punish illegal and criminal behavior, and ensure the safety and the rights of Chinese citizens in Vietnam.

当天下午,外交部副部长刘振民奉命紧急召见越南驻华大使阮文诗,提出严正交涉,要求越方立即采取切实有力措施,坚决制止并严惩违法犯罪行为,确保在越中国公民的安全和权利。

On the same day, the Chinese government exigently dispatched an inter-departmental working group headed by assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao to Vietnam.

(Original headline: China puts forward solemn and just protest against seriously violent attacks suffered by Chinese companies in Vietnam.)

(原标题:中方就中国在越企业遭受严重暴力袭击提出严正抗议)

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3. Xi Jinping Speech to Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, May 15

On Thursday, Chinese media also covered a speech by Xi Jinping on the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The occasion was probably long-planned, and Xi’s speech didn’t necessarily undergo changes to adapt to the troubles south of the border. Xi apparently spoke in his capacity as state chairman only, as the report doesn’t mention his role as secretary general of the CCP. A number of foreign guests reportedly attended, Richard Nixon’s grandson Christopher Nixon Cox among them.

Source: CCTV Online (央视网), via Enorth (Tianjin)

State Chairman Xi Jinping chaired a conference at the Great Hall of the People on May 15, marking the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), and gave an important speech. He emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development. The Chinese people wish to live together in peace with all peoples of the world, to develop harmoniously, and together with them promote the lofty cause of peace and development of humankind.  People-to-people diplomacy would innovate the development of friendly exchange in multiple areas, through many channels, and on many levels.

国 家主席习近平15日在人民大会堂出席中国国际友好大会暨中国人民对外友好协会成立60周年纪念活动并发表重要讲话,强调人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基 础力量,中国人民愿意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展,共同促进人类和平与发展的崇高事业。民间外交要开拓创新,多领域、多渠道、多层次开展对外友好交 流。

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Xi Jinping emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development, and a prerequisite for achieving win-win cooperation. Facing a complicated and volatile international situation and severe and protruding global problems, peoples of all countries needed to strengthen friendly exchange, work together, and help each other. In the process of bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, China would, together with all countries of the world, promote the achievement of all countries’ peoples of their own dreams. China would continue to comprehensively open up to the outside world, promote mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries of the world, promote the construction of an economic Silk Road belt and a maritime Silk Road of the 21rst Century, bring about opportunities for all countries to develop, to create together and to share together. China would make great efforts to develop international cultural exchange, and to make contributions to the progress of human civilization.

习近平指出,人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基础力量,是实现合作共赢的基本前提。面对复杂多变的国际形势和 严峻突出的全球性问题,各国人民需要加强友好交流,携手合作,同舟共济。中国将在实现中华民族伟大复兴的过程中,同世界各国一道,推动各国人民更好实现自 己的梦想。中国将继续全面对外开放,推进同世界各国的互利合作,推动建设丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路,实现各国在发展机遇上的共创共享。中国将 大力开展中外文化交流,为推动人类文明进步作出贡献。

Xi Jinping empasized that the Chinese nation had always been a peace-loving nation, had always sought and passed on the firm concepts of peace, concord, and harmony. To invade others, seeking world hegemony was not in the nature of the Chinese nation, and the Chinese people did not accept the logic of “national strength must dominate”*), but wanted to live in peace with the peoples of all countries of the world, to develop harmoniously, seek peace together, protect the peace together, and enjoy peace together. China would adhere to the path of peaceful development, and also promote the persistence of all countries in peaceful development.

习近平强调,中华民族历 来是爱好和平的民族,一直追求和传承和平、和睦、和谐的坚定理念。中华民族的血液中没有侵略他人,称霸世界的基因,中国人民不接受“国强必霸”的逻辑,愿 意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展,共谋和平、共护和平、共享和平。中国将坚持走和平发展道路,同时也将推动各国共同坚持和平发展。

[...]

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Updates/Corrections:

*) “national strength must dominate” might be replaced by “national strength must lead to domination (of others)” – that would seem to reflect the meaning of “国强必霸” better.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Norway: “appeasing China seems to take precedence”

Norway’s prime minister and foreign minister are not going to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits next month, as part of an effort to ease tensions with the world’s second-largest economy, Bloomberg reported on April 23. Views and News from Norway wrote on April 9 that Parliamentary President and a long-time supporter of Tibet, Olemic Thommessen, said he would not be meeting with the exiled spiritual leader because it was more important to repair relations with China. Relations between Oslo and Beijing had been frigid ever since Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, reports the Norwegian English-language website. It was Norway’s – now ruling – Conservative Party, including now prime minister Erna Solberg, who spoke up for human rights issues and Tibet in 2008. The Dalai Lama himself is a Nobel  laureate and visits on the 25th anniversary of being awarded the peace prize.

According to the Views and News report,

Olav Gunnar Ballo, another former leader of the Tibet committee, said it’s a shame Norway’s leading politicians haven’t come out in support of the Dalai Lama, and it’s cowardly that appeasing China now seems to take precedence over human rights issues that were so actively brandished in the past.

According to the Voice of Tibet, a Norway-based broadcaster and website operator, demonstrators protested, on Wednesday, against high-ranking politicians’ decisions not to meet with the Dalai Lama. Among the demonstrators – about 400 according to News and Views -, were Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande, MP Rasmus Hansson of the Green Paerty, and rock musician Lars Lillo-Stenberg. Norway should not cave in to force and threats, one of the organizers reportedly told Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. According to Views and News, Liberal Party leader Grande said that

the Dalai Lama would not be received “in the basement” [...] but would be brought to parliament to meet “as many politicians as we can manage to scrape together. We will show that people are concerned about the cowardice shown.”

These are strong words of criticism – and as they come from Norwegians, these words are laudable. But before Europeans elsewhere join the condemnations easily, they should pause and think what they or their countries were doing while Norwegian business was kept in the cold by Beijing. In fact, Oslo resisted the pressures for a remarkably long time.

But it is also true that the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo – independent from government in formal terms, but not when it comes to membership and influence – has made a joke of itself in recent years. Awarding Liu Xiaobo was a brave choice, but the award that had preceded it a year earlier – to Barack Obama -, and the one that followed in 2012,  to the European Union, were silly (to put it mildly).

Are the current (small-scale, but still bigger than elsewhere) protests only the last echoes from Norway’s better days? Or are they an indication that civil society is picking up important issues where the elites are failing? The Dalai Lama himself has turned more to people-to-people diplomacy in recent years, at least formally.

That’s where the future is.

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Related

» press conference, FMPRC (English), April 28, 2014
» press conference, FMPR (Chinese), April 28, 2014
» Dalai Lama in Oslo, schedule May 7-9
» Out of the Flames, Woeser/High Peaks, April 15, 2014

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Monday, April 28, 2014

An Open Letter from Malaysian Politics: Universal Virtues

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Some analysts see Obama’s visit to Malaysia, a close trading partner of China, as a strategy to dilute China’s influence in Southeast Asia, writes the “Global Times”, a state-owned English-language paper from China which is mainly written for a foreign audience (and possibly for Chinese learners of English, too). However, quoting Qu Xing (曲星), director of the China Institute of International Studies, the article suggests that Kuala Lumpur was in fact taking a balanced attitude and showed that Malaysia is trying to avoid confrontation with China on this issue. The article suggests that the American president didn’t make much headway in promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade project that, if put into practice, would manage trade between its original member states of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam. If the trade pact would benefit or damage the interests of the nations involved is contested, as is a trade project between America and the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The (English-language) “Global Times’” headline is implicitly about censorship: US TV shows removed from popular streaming websites / The removal of several popular American TV series from Chinese video streaming sites over the weekend may indicate stricter online monitoring. Huanqiu Shibao, the Chinese-language sister paper for a mostly domestic readership, carries a headline about the Ukraine crisis. Huanqiu also prominently features a short news article from Jilin: Unearthing the whole story of Japanese invasion has made many experts suffer from depression (日本侵华档案发掘始末:很多专家患上抑郁症). According to the news article, the files in question were some 100,000 volumes of Japanese files in an archive in Jilin, northeastern China, concerning the invasion, 90 percent of them written in Japanese.

Underneath the top headlines, another article of today quotes an American official – or American officials – as saying that America was working on several military plans to contain or deter China (美国官员:美国拟定多套军事方案遏阻中国). Huanqiu quotes a quote from the Chinese edition of the Wall Street Journal (also of Monday) which is avaliable online.

The Wall Street Journal:

American officials say that the American military prepares several plans to strongly respond to future provocative actions in the South China Sea (called Southern Sea by china) and the East China Sea (called Eastern Sea by China). These plans include dispatching B-2 bombers to places close to China, and holding aircraft-carrier exercises in the range of China’s coastal waters.

美国官员称,美国军方准备了多种方案,将强有力地应对中国未来在南中国海(中国称南海)和东中国海(中国称东海)的任何挑衅行动。这些方案包括向靠近中国的地方派遣B-2轰炸机,以及在接近中国沿海水域的范围举行航母演习。

Apart from the explanations in brackets, the first paragraphs are identical at WSJ and Huanqiu. From the second paragraph, Huanqiu cuts a long WSJ story short, with only two more paragraphs:

Security issues play an important role on president Obama’s tour of four Asian countries. On April 28, the American president will sign an agreement in the Philippines which allows American military to return to the Philippines after more than twenty years. The Philippine opposition parties had previously forced America to abandon its military bases on the Philippines.  Equally, Obama stood side by side with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to Japan, saying that America’s promise to guarantee Japan’s security was “absolute”.*)

美国总统奥巴马近日 访问亚洲四国,安全问题是他此行的一个重要议题。4月28日,美国总统将在菲律宾签署一项协议,允许美军在二十多年后重返菲律宾。此前,菲律宾反对党曾迫 使美国方面放弃了在菲律宾的军事基地。同样,巴马访问日本时与日本首相安倍晋三并排站在了一起,并表示,美国在条约中对日本的安保承诺是“绝对的”。

Besides military aspects, the Huanqiu account of the WSJ argicle also mentions contingency plans and humanitarian aid operations. Surveillance of areas near China would be strengthened, calls of American navy vessels to allied countries’ ports be intensified, so as to demonstrate American military strength (加强对中国附近地区的监视、增加美国海军对盟友港口的停靠等,以展示美国的军事实力).

A major issue mentioned by the WSJ Chinese edition, about Washington trying to alleviate doubts among its Asian allies in its security assurances, especially after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula (尤其是在俄罗斯吞并克里米亚半岛之后), are not quoted by Huanqiu Shibao.

The full WSJ article (which has been put behind a registration wall by now) quotes Pacific Command public affairs officer Chris Sims as a source.

But it’s not all about the U.S. Navy. Under China’s lead, eight countries’ navies carried out the “Maritime Cooperation 2014″ military exercises off the coast of Shandong province last week. China, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Singapore and three other countries participated, reports a Beijing Youth article republished  by Huanqiu Shibao on Monday. Beijing Youth in turn quoted Xinhua newsagency as reporting that the exercise featured reactions to non-traditional security issues (非传统安全的内容) such as piracy, terrorism, natural disasters as well as other threats faced by countries in the region and everywhere in the world.

» The Negarakuku Saga, August 2007

Tony Pua (潘俭伟), a member of Malaysia’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) and member of parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, published an open letter to Barack Obama on Saturday, the day of the American president’s arrival in Kuala Lumpur:

Mr President, with all due respect, we do not need you to visit our country to tell us that our country is a standout example of moderation, because it is not.

Or for you to praise our government that it is a model plural society living in peace and harmony, because it is a façade.

We need you, Mr President, to speak of the universal virtues of humankind, of the principles your forefathers upheld and sacrificed for.

We want you to speak of the importance of basic human rights, equality, freedom and fundamental democratic principles.

We want to know that the president of United States still believe in the protection and promotion of civil liberties throughout the world – those very liberties which allowed you to be in your position today.

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Footnote

*) this apparently refers to this statement by Obama: And let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.

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Related

» Pivotal state, BBC, April 26, 2014

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Friday, April 25, 2014

U.S.-Japanese Alliance covers Senkaku Islands: Greater Japanese contributions welcome, says Obama; Neighbors mindful, says FMPRC

U.S. president Barack Obama wound up a visit to Japan on Friday and began a visit to South Korea.

The Japanese and US governments issued a joint statement on Friday, after an unusual delay, reports Radio Japan. The statement says the United States and Japan are committed to taking the bold steps necessary to complete a high-standard, ambitious and comprehensive TPP agreement, and says the US and Japan underscore the importance of maintaining maritime order based on international law, including the freedom of navigation and overflight. It was apparently alluding to China’s increased maritime activities.

The statement also says the US provides all necessary capabilities to meet its commitments under the US-Japan security treaty. It says these commitments cover all territories under the administration of Japan, including the Senkaku Islands, adds Radio Japan.

x

Greater contributions?

American president Obama and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a press conference on Thursday, and the White House published a transcript of the press conference. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that is currently meant to include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, was one of the big topics, another was military cooperation between Japan and the U.S..

Addressing the Japanese prime minister directly, Obama explicitly stated that under your leadership, Japan is also looking to make even greater contributions to peace and security around the world, which the United States very much welcomes.

Obama also explicitly stated that the American military alliance with Japan covered the Senkaku Islands (aka Diaoyutai Islands), replying to a question from a news person not mentioned by name or organization.

A U.S. reporter follows up on that.

Q (CNN): Thank you, Mr. President.  Arigato, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. President, in regards to the Senkaku Islands, I just want to make sure that this is absolutely clear.  Are you saying that the U.S. would consider using military force were China to have some sort of military incursion in those islands to protect those islands?  And how does that not draw another red line that you would have to enforce of putting U.S. credibility, your credibility on the line once again, as it was in the case with Syria and Russia?  And on another key security issue, you mentioned North Korea in your meeting with the Prime Minister.  Are you issuing a warning to North Korea that there should not be another nuclear test?

And to Prime Minister Abe, do you have confidence in President Obama’s assurances about your security when the U.S. and the West were unable to stop Russia’s advances in Ukraine?  Thank you.

After this question, Obama’s answers began to take time. It started with Well, Jim, let me unpack that question because there’s a whole bunch of assumptions in there, some of which I don’t agree with. There was no “red line”, the president added, but only the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance, which is that territories under the administration of Japan are covered under the treaty. Diplomacy, not escalation, would be encouraged, according to Obama, who pointed to the removal of chemical weapons from Syria as an example for successful diplomacy.

On the day of Abe’s and Obama’s press conference in Tokyo, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦刚) held one in Beijing, too.

Q: US President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met the press together after their meeting. Obama said that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of the US-Japan security treaty. What is China’s comment?

问:24日,美国总统奥巴马在与日本首相安倍晋会谈后共见记者时称,钓鱼岛在日本的施政权之下,适用于《美日安保条约》。中方对此有何评论?

A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear, firm and consistent. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. I have already clarified this solemn position yesterday.

答:中方在钓鱼岛问题上的立场是明确、坚定和一贯的。昨天在这里,我已经阐明了中方坚决反对将钓鱼岛作为《美日安保条约》适用对象的严正立场。

I want to add that the so-called US-Japan security treaty is the product of the Cold War era. It should not be cited to target a third party, let alone to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty. No matter what others may say or do, the solid fact that the Diaoyu Islands are integral parts of China’s territory cannot be changed, nor will our government’s and people’s determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests be shaken.

我还想特别指出,所谓《美日安保条约》是冷战时期的产物,它不应针对第三方,也不应损害中国的领土主权。不管别人说什么、做什么,都改变不了钓鱼岛是中国固有领土这一根本事实,也动摇不了中国政府和人民维护国家领土主权和海洋权益的决心和意志。

The Obama administration had apparently prepared the ground with an interview. He had told Yomiuri Shimbun that our engagement with China does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally, and that the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.

On Wednesday, Qin Gang – as he pointed out on Thursday – had commented on Obama’s message, too.

Q: Today’s Yomiuri Shimbun published their interview with US President Barack Obama. Obama said in the interview that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of US-Japan security treaty, adding that the US supports Japan in playing a bigger role in the field of security in the Asia Pacific. What is China’s comment?

A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear and consistent. The Diaoyu Islands are an integral part of China over which China has indisputable sovereignty. The so-called control of the islands by the Japanese side is illegal and invalid. Their provocative actions are undeniable and unjustifiable. Our determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is unshakable.

It should be noted that the US-Japan alliance, as a bilateral arrangement forged during the Cold War era, should never infringe upon China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. The US should respect facts, act responsibly, stick to its commitment of taking no sides in relevant territorial disputes, think twice before saying or doing anything and truly play a constructive role in ensuring regional peace and stability.

For historical reasons, countries in the region as well as the international community are mindful about Japan’s policies in military and security areas. Considering the recent incidents, by incidents I mean the provocative words and actions of the Japanese authority on issues of history, territorial sovereignty and others, Japan’s moves in the military and security areas are also closely watched by us. We hope that relevant parties can show their respect for facts, tell right from wrong, and make positive efforts in safeguarding regional peace, security and stability. As for the Japanese side, we hope they can follow the trend of the times, featuring win-win cooperation, and show us with their concrete actions that they are still on the path of peaceful development.

Meantime, Obama has arrived in South Korea, and is scheduled to visit Malaysia and the Philippines after that.

Huanqiu Shibao, on Tuesday, published an account of an interview with Jin Canrong (金灿荣), a foreign-relations observer, who states a belief that Washington was aware of Japanese ambitions to lead America, rather than to be led by America, and that Washington was confident that its own leadership would prevail in U.S.-Japanese cooperation. However, nobody should make much of the fact that Obama wouldn’t stay in the State Guest House during his stay in Japan, or that he wasn’t accompanied by his wife. China’s feelings were hardly Obama’s concern when making these decisions. A researcher at the Japan Institute of the China Institutes Of Contemporary International Relations, Liu Junhong (刘军红), suggests that several successive Japanese governments had tried to bypass America in order to dominate the East Asian community, but that with America joining the TPP, this Japanese concept had disintegrated. Now, Japan hoped to achieve the goal of domination by “borrowing strength” from America.

“美国有信心主导美日关系而不是被日本主导,肯定不会被日本当枪使”,中国国际问题专家 金灿荣21日对《环球时报》说,对于日本期望美国为其站台的盘算,美国心里是清楚的,但如果认为奥巴马不住国宾馆、米歇尔不随行是顾虑中方感情,那显然是 想多了。金灿荣说,日本近期在扩大集体自卫权方面动作频繁,中方不要指望美国会“管教”日本,相反日本军事动作背后有美国的意思,因为美国人自信完全可以 控制住日本,希望日本在亚洲多发挥军事作用。中国现代国际关系研究院日本研究所研究员刘军红说,最近几届日本政府期待主导“东亚共同体”,也就是甩开美国 单干,但这个构想被美国的TPP瓦解了。现在日本仍未放弃主导亚洲,但希望通过借力美国来实现。

Huanqiu also quotes Russia Today‘s “Voice of Russia” as commenting on Monday that while countries visited by Obama wanted American security assurances, America might not be able to give such guarantees. Those countries needed to understand that America had always kept its own interests first on its mind, and that these interests wouldn’t allow America to openly antagonize China.

“俄罗斯之声”21日说,对于奥巴马来访,受访国家都想听到美国的安全保证,但未必能如愿,这些国家应清楚,美国向来先考虑自己的利益,而利益不允许美国公然对抗中国。

Meantime, the “Voice of Russia” is interviewing academics, too. On Friday, the former radio station’s website published remarks by Dmitry Babich, a political analyst of their own. America was lucky enough to have good economic relations with both China and Japan, Babich says, but instead of being a mediator between them Obama engaged himself 100% on the side of Japan, said that the US has to protect Japan according to the defense treaties. And in this way he alienated China and pushed it into the arms of Russia right on the eve of President Putin’s visit.

Or, maybe, Beijing allows Moscow to jump into China’s arms.

But then, Beijing has interests of its own, too. And not confronting America openly – i. e. to maintain big-power relations with Washington – may be a priority for Beijing, at least for the time being.

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Related

» Sino-Japan Communiqué, fully understood, July 27, 2010
» Previous posts mentioning Jin Canrong

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